One of the most common questions asked by students new to the study of psychology is "What is psychology?" Misconceptions created by media as well as the diverse careers paths of those holding psychology degrees have contributed this confusion.

Psychology is both an applied and academic field that studies the human mind and behavior. Research in psychology seeks to understand and explain how we think, act and feel. Applications for psychology include mental health treatment, performance enhancement, self-help, ergonomics and many other areas affecting health and daily life. The education programs available at Psychology World offer an insight into these various areas.

When you think of psychology, do you envision a therapist with a notepad jotting down ideas as a client recounts childhood experiences? While therapy is certainly a big part of psychology, it is not the only thing that psychologists do. In fact, many psychologists don't work in the field of mental health at all. Psychology encompasses other areas including teaching, research and consulting. Psychologists work in a wide variety of settings, including:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Private corporations
  • K-12 Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Government offices

Psychology is not just an academic subject that exists only in classrooms, research labs and mental health offices. The principles of psychology can be seen all around you in everyday situations. The television commercials and print ads you see every day rely on psychology to develop marketing messages that influence and persuade people to purchase the advertised products. The websites you visit on a regular basis utilize psychology to understand how people read, use and interpret online information.

(Source: About.com)